Friday, August 19, 2005

Record Reviews: August Edition

All right, here's my take on some of the records that have come out recently:

Sufjan Stevens Illinois - The second release in this ambitious undertaking by Sufjan to make a record for every state of the union. Like the first release for the state of Michigan, it's very orchestrated and easy on the ears. He's a wonderful songwriter and does his research. All the songs have something to do with the state he's covering and have ridiculously long titles.

Robbers On High Street Tree City - If you enjoyed the new Spoon record or can't wait for the new Walkmen record, this one should tie you over. This is a New York band that sounds an awful lot like the aformentioned, but still adds their own flare. Lots of piano driven, upbeat songs that don't shy away from pop melodies.

Cursive Difference Between Houses & Homes:Lost Songs - This is a compilation of Cursive's first three 7" and other unreleased goodness. Not a necessity for the casual fan, but a nice release for those of us who don't want to spend $40 buying those out of print records on Ebay.

Headphones Headphones - This is a Pedro The Lion side project, David Bazan and his touring band abandoning guitars for keyboards. It pretty much sounds like a Pedro record without guitars. Same subject matter, same feel. Everyone is having fun with their new-wave keyboards lately, but the songwriting actually elevates it past the novelty stage.

Holopaw Quit And/Or Fight - The second release from Ugly Casanovan John Orth. Just as good as the first. Great songwriting and melodies. His voice carries the record, the music is sparse and simple.

Pajo Pajo - The new record from David Pajo (Slint, Papa M, Zwan, Tortoise, Palace Bros, Stereolab). It was recorded on his laptop at home and has a Nick Drake, Elliott Smith vibe to it. Mostly just acoustic guitars and hushed vocals. Very pretty.

Medications Your Favorite People All In One Place - This is the new band from the members of Faraquet. More accessible than anything their old band released, it's comparable to Bluetip and Nashville's own Apollo Up. Good stuff from Dischord.

Goldrush Ozona - This band often gets compared to Coldplay, Doves and all those British bands that sound like that but I believe Goldrush has way more balls. It's like they also take a cue from OK Computer instead of just trying to reproduce The Bends like Colplay has tried thrice now.

Orange Juice The Glasgow School - This is a compilation of this long forgotten but highly influential Scottish band. You might remember singer Edwyn Collins from the "Empire Records" Soundtrack song, "A Girl Like You". This is his first band. It sounds like the Smiths would have sounded like if they listened to disco and Bowie. A huge influence on fellow Scotsmen Franz Ferdinand.

Rahim Jungles - Great post-punk in the vein of everything that's ever come out on Dischord, except this one's on FrenchKiss records. Just an EP, looking forward to full length.

The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up Picks Up Apart - Kind of like early Death Cab For Cutie. Low key, but striking.

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